US Coins

There are now five types of Virginia quarter errors

Over the last six years this column has featured a diverse array of misstruck 2000-P Virginia quarter dollars produced by a singularly deranged coining press (see print issues of Coin World dated Sept. 27, 2010; Oct. 31, 2011; Dec. 24, 2012; and May 18, 2015).

The following error types have been recorded: (1) major horizontal misalignments of the hammer (reverse) die, (2) off-center strikes (often accompanied by a minor misalignment of the hammer die), (3) horizontal misalignments of the anvil (obverse) die (and collar) that range in severity from modest to severe, and (4) one example of a dual misalignment (i.e., both dies misaligned). All errors were struck out-of-collar except for the first type, where partial collar errors of up to 360 degrees are common.

Die damage visible

These striking errors are accompanied by various forms of die damage. Both dies suffered collar clash early on. Collar clash most often occurs when a misaligned hammer die collides with the top of the collar or scrapes along the latter’s working face. The outer surface of the die neck and rim gutter are left with a series of grooves corresponding to the ridges on the working face of the collar. Collar clash appears much less often on an anvil die, and requires that the latter grind up and down against, or smash laterally into, the working face of the collar.

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The southwest margin of the reverse face also shows a die attrition error that worsens over time and eventually grazes the bottom of E PLURIBUS. This error develops as metal is ground off the edge of the hammer die face by repeated collisions against the beveled entrance of the collar. It is another side effect of a misaligned hammer die.

Finally, this series of quarter dollars displays a steadily increasing number of die scratches and tiny die dents. The striking chamber was occupied by fine debris that continued to mark up the dies throughout the press run. These die markers had previously allowed me to define seven distinct die stages (A to G).

Eighth die stage and fifth error type found

I can now report the discovery of an eighth die stage (H) that coincides with the appearance of a previously unrepresented error type.

Brought to light by error dealer Jon Sullivan, this fifth error type is an uncentered broadstrike in which neither die was misaligned. This coin also shows a planchet misfeed in a new direction, toward the southeast. Of course, this means that the strike itself is positioned in the northwest part of the planchet.

Die stages markers

For those interested in collecting this fascinating series, I’ve provided a list of the die stages and their markers. I’ve also listed the error types found in each die stage (numbered 1 to 5, as previously enumerated). It’s virtually certain that the range of errors listed within each die stage underestimates the actual diversity, as many hundreds of quarters were struck by this malfunctioning press. I also anticipate that, in the coming years, the existing die stages will be more finely divided and added to at both ends.

Die Stage A. Large die scratch from LIBERTY to Washington’s neck. Die scratch between the M and E of AMERICA. Horizontal die scratch between the first T and A of STATES. Short die scratch from middle to right ship. Blemish just below the last zero of 2000 (representing Errors 2 and 3).

Die Stage B. Blemish appears near the rim, between the L of LIBERTY and U of UNITED; die scratch appears between the R and T of QUARTER, sloping downward from left to right (Error 3).

Die Stage C. Long die scratch extends down from the A of STATES toward Washington’s forehead (Errors 1 and 3).

Die Stage D. Die scratch appears between the R and T of QUARTER, sloping upward from left to right, making an “X” with the previous die scratch in this area; short die scratch extends upward from left horizontal bar of the T of LIBERTY (Error 3).

Die Stage E. Die scratch appears in the O of DOLLAR (Error 2).

Die Stage F. Short die scratch above and in line with vertical bar of T of LIBERTY; die scratch through UNUM (Error 1).

Die Stage G. Obverse: Die scratch appears along the right side of the second R of QUARTER (Errors 1 to 4).

Die Stage H. Die scratch through A of QUARTER (Error 5).

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